France says after de-escalation of U.S.-Iran tensions

September 23, 2019

TEHRAN – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday his country’s main aim at the UN General Assembly meeting is to de-escalate the Tehran-Washington tensions.

Speaking to reporters, Le Drian said holding a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was not the number one subject, Reuters reported.

“The priority subject is whether we can restart a de-escalation path with the different actors,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has started mediation efforts between Iran and the U.S., in the hope of reducing tensions. 

However, a September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities, which the United States has blamed on Iran, has complicated matters. 

Iran denied involvement in the attack, while Yemen has claimed responsibility.

“This moment is dangerous for the world and the situation is serious because of the magnitude of the strikes (on Saudi Arabia) and its targets and ... (they) came when we thought there was a window of opportunity for talks,” Le Drian said.

Calling the attack a turning point, he added that it was imperative to get to the bottom of it so there can be a firm political response, although he declined to say what that response could be.

“What we want is that these events and actions are documented and then the international community will be within its right to ask for explanations. But first we need to know who and why they acted like that,” Le Drian said.

Britain has also said it believes Iran was responsible for the attack and will work with the United States and European allies on a joint response.

“The UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks. We think it very likely indeed that Iran was indeed responsible,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, according to Reuters.

“We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to deescalate tensions in the [Persian] Gulf region.”

Johnson said he would be discussing Iran’s actions in the region with President Hassan Rouhani at the UN meeting.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said it was very likely that Iran was responsible for the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said linking Iran to the attack on the Saudi oil facilities is a “maximum deceit” in line with Washington’s “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

In remarks on Friday, Zarif also said “even the Saudis themselves don’t believe the fiction of Iranian involvement” in the attacks on the Aramco oil facilities, citing Saudi Arabia’s retaliation attack on Hodaideh in Yemen as a reason.

MH/PA

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